Categories Screening Room News

Big renovation news from The Screening Room: major expansion later in 2017 to include third screen & elevator!

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I’m delighted to announce that The Screening Room will undergo a major expansion & renovation later this year! We will remain in the same location, but will take over the entire second floor of our building at 120 Princess Street and do the following:

  • Add a third cinema (which will seat 78).
  • Expand our largest cinema from 89 seats to 125 seats (the “Rio” theatre will become the “Rio Grande”!) and construct a simple stage at the front for occasional live performances & speaking events.
  • Make the entire cinema fully wheelchair-accessible (not to mention accessible to anyone who has difficulty climbing stairs) by installing a new elevator and making other layout changes.
  • Expand & beautify our lobby area.
  • Build larger washrooms and add a single-occupancy universal washroom.
  • Make various less-visible infrastructure upgrades, including a brand-new air conditioning/heating system!

We are far along in the planning process and expect to begin construction in late Summer (July/August). We hope to complete construction by the end of 2017. We will keep the cinema operational for as much of the renovation as possible, though there will be some weeks where we are down to just one screen (and a few weeks where we will need to shut down completely).


This big renovation is both an exciting makeover and a necessary change. The inaccessibly of our theatre is the biggest problem that we need to solve, followed by the fact that we’ve outgrown our current space – we frequently sell out screenings (and turn people away) when we have a hit movie, and our long-standing washrooms/lobby/air-conditioning is not adequate for large crowds. We’re also eager to implement dozens of smaller ideas on how to provide a more comfortable & charming moviegoing experience. As the only movie theatre in downtown Kingston, we want to be more-than-adequate to the needs & interests of a broad range of moviegoers, not to mention the numerous festivals and community groups who host special events in our space.

I’m even more optimistic about the viability of independent cinema in Kingston now than I was nearly six years ago, when I took ownership of The Screening Room. There are no shortage of fantastic films being made today, and thankfully there are lots of you out there that know that “going to the Movies” is one of the great simple pleasures in life: it gets you out of the house and away from your cellphone/email/worries, and in just two hours you can gain a revitalized perspective on life and the world around you. Attendance at our cinema has steadily increased each year since 2011, and it’s your continued curiosity & enthusiasm for our movie programming (expressed through tickets purchased & positive word-of-mouth) that enables us to pursue this ambitious renovation project. As I see it, The Screening Room is currently a scrappy little theatre that “punches above its weight-class”, but I hope that in a few years it will be the best of its kind in Canada!


If you have any questions or thoughts regarding our upcoming renovation project, feel free to send me an email: I’ll continue to post updates on our renovation project as it progresses in our weekly email newsletter.